Raleigh Militis Race wins the BikesEtc Best of British test

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Before we get round to the enviable task of throttling the Raleigh over a four-hour ride in
the Peaks, it’s clear that the Militis is one well-appointed bike. Running the same frameset as the brand’s pro team bikes, and comprehensively specced with SRAM’s second-tier Force groupset, from shifters to brakes to chainset to derailleurs, it’s festooned with equipment of the level we’ve seen on road bikes costing £1,000 more. It’s
also a real head-turner, not least for its wearing of the traditional Raleigh heron head badge, but especially thanks to its eye-catching tangerine and metal-effect paint job. Turn up on the next club run on this and people will flock round you.

You’ll also batter them. The Raleigh’s race pedigree shows itself from the moment we set off down the descent of the Peak District’s Cat & Fiddle. It’s super-stable at speed in a straight line, and as we weave through the sinuous downhill turns, we need to recalibrate
our head – it changes direction so quickly that less experienced riders would call it twitchy. The way this bike turns, on the flat as well as when rocketing down a mountainside, is with the utmost directness and confidence. Schwalbe’s ever-excellent One tyres assist in this, especially in this 25c size, as a larger contact patch adds even more cornering assistance to these already grippy tyres.

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Overall, it’s a lightweight package, making uphill riding far from arduous. Equipped with a compact chainset and 11-28 cassette you could climb anything on this. However, the one
thing that holds us back in the Peaks is the 53/39 chainset, causing some grindingly slow ascents.

Sprints to cafés and up short ramps are made child’s play by the incredibly punchy frame, and Cole’s C27 wheelset is a cut above the usual budget wheels so often found fitted to otherwise highly-specified road bikes. Special mentions go to the all-day-cosseting Fizik Arione saddle and ergonomically perfect 400mm bars on our size 53 frame, topping off a truly excellent all-round package that would not only help you destroy your rivals a crit race but do just as good a job of supplying fun and comfort on your next sportive.

There’s no better testing ground for any bike than the gruelling climbs and precipitous descents of the Peak District, and all three of these bikes handled their duties on this punishing terrain with aplomb. Even the two of our bikes with standard double chainsets were capable of grinding out a climb, and all three offered enough speed to thrill. In fact, if you fail to be thrilled by a 50mph descent on a road bike, you might want to check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive.

What makes the Raleigh Militis Race our overall winner is simple. It offers the best
combination of poise, stiffness, confidence and overall specification to fit any situation.
Yes, it’s built to race, but if you’re looking for a bike to excite you on a long ride, it’ll ably
feed your adrenaline habit, too. Tifosi’s SS26 might be a little too focussed in its current
build to suit most riders, but if it’s a race bike you’re after, look no further. Equally, Hoy’s
Alto Irpavi .004 has abundant character and would be the only bike you’d need if leisure
rides in all conditions were on the cards. What all three bikes prove is that, while we might not be making them in numbers, Britain sure knows how to create a good bike build that’s designed to excel on the varied terrain of this green and pleasant land.

To find out more about the Militis Race click here >

The Observer chooses the Criterium Race as its bike of the week

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Raleigh is almost 130 years old. But a decade ago, it was on its knees. You’d never have dreamed of buying a Raleigh – unless of course you came across a vintage Chopper. But in 2012 the huge Dutch corporation Accell stepped in and gave the historic brand the breathing space and, more crucially, the funds to refind its mojo. The Raleigh race team was relaunched to spearhead R&D and the fruit of all that labour is now peddling its way to a bike shop near you. The latest generation of frames are award-winning, and this Criterium Race is a perfect example. It’s lightweight carbon and offers the best balance of stiffness and weight available at this level. It’s a super ride – and the satisfaction of being on a great British bike will last long after the burning in your thighs has eased.

Credit: Martin Love, The Observer

find out more about the Criterium Race here>

Roker Pro wins the Guardians adventure bike test

imageIt is a well-worn joke among cyclists that the ideal number of bikes to own equals n + 1, where (n) is the number of cycles you already possess. However, a new category of bike has arrived in the shops that threatens to disprove that equation. The new genre is known as the adventure bike and for a few pounds more it promises to be the only bike you need. You’ve guessed it: the textbooks about the right number of bikes to own may have to be rewritten.

The adventure bike should be capable of shuttling you to work, carrying you on countryside bridleways and transporting you over long distances for sponsorship money. Granted, many bikes could do all these things but the adventure bike should convey you with less effort and fewer mishaps.

The adventure bike recipe should include all or most of the following ingredients:

1. Tyres with a little bit of grip that are at least 27mm wide, to cushion you from bumpy terrain and give you traction on the soft stuff

2. Disc brakes to stop you promptly in all conditions, including mud.

3. Relaxed frame geometry that’s gentle on your lower back and shoulders.

4. Eyelets for fixing mudguards and maybe some panniers, too.

Optional ingredients include: fixings for a third water bottle; a top tube that is cable-free and flattened for easier shouldering over obstacles; and thru-axles to keep the wheels firmly in place.

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The Roker Pro takes a break in the Ashdown Forest. Photograph: Ian Tucker for the Observer
This bike’s winning feature is its Sram Rival 1X gearset. This dispenses with a front derailleur, which saves weight, ends chain rub and drop and simplifies gear changing and maintenance. Occasionally, I felt like I needed a higher or lower gear but this can also happen with a double chainring. The accompanying Sram hydraulic brakes offer great power and modulation. The 35mm Schwalbe Gravel 1 tyres soak up bumps and have enough grip for most off-road surfaces. In addition to the excellent components, the bike feels well put together – there were no unexplained noises and no mechanical tune-ups were needed to keep it going. Plus the top tube is a hand-friendly flattened shape for when you have to lug it over footbridges and stiles. Pretty light too.

Verdict
A winner. Will deal with pretty much anything you throw at it

Credit: Ian Tucker the Guardian

Find out more about the Roker Pro here>

 

The Raleigh Mustang Elite gets 4/5 in Out and About Live Magazine

Gravel bikes are all the rage at the minute and I have been riding one of Raleigh’s mid-range offerings, the wonderfully light (10.5kg) Mustang Elite (RRP £1,000). A gravel bike allows you to ride sportily and fast but also to cover moderate off-road tracks such as towpaths and forest tracks and roads.

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The Mustang Elite sits in the middle of Raleigh’s large 2016 range of gravel bikes. A single chainwheel drives an 11-speed rear sprocket with a gear range of 386% and a lowest gear of around 29 gear inches. That’s a huge range off a single chainwheel, great for going fast and steep hill climbing whilst keeping the weight down and keeping the gears easy to use. Impressively, it’s all operated by single gear change lever.

The pimply, 40mm wide tyres have a very off-road look but the bike streaked away on tarmac, helped by the head-down position you adopt. On local tracks, the transition to a much more head-down approach took some getting used to.
The semi-hydraulic disc brakes were excellent, with nice gradual control in
the early stages of braking, giving way to quick and solid stopping power as
you squeeze harder on the levers.

It’s good value for what you get so the Mustang Elite is worth a look for sporty riders wanting to extend their road biking horizons.

Written by Richard Pearce

Find out more about the Mustang Elite here >

Raleigh Power bikes make their debut

A University of Brighton power-bike rental service for staff and students took to the streets for the first time (on Monday, 7 March).

The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debra Humphris, gave the new ‘e-bikes’ a trial run and declared them “excellent and great fun.”

She said: “The issue around sustainable transport and sustainable living is absolutely imperative for not just this nation but for every nation on earth, and the University of Brighton is strongly committed to sustainability.

“If this project in some small way makes a difference to emissions, to healthy living, to transport sustainability, then these are the things we must do. But we must not just practice them, we must research them and to find ways to change our behaviour to a more sustainable lifestyle.”

Associate Professor Anne Mandy, from the university’s Centre for Health Research, was awarded £36,000 to trial a fleet of 10 Electrically Assisted Power Cycles (EAPCs), one of 11 such projects funded by the Department for Transport to “help tourists, residents and workers go further by bike”.

The projects were chosen by Carplus, the non-profit environmental transport non-governmental organisation, which is investigating whether electric bikes are the answer to congestion, transport and health problems. Southern Railway and Eastbourne Borough Council are collaborating with the university’s research which will explore the uptake of electric bikes.

The launch, at Eastbourne railway station, was attended by Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell and Eastbourne Mayor, Councillor Janet Coles. Both trialled the bikes and gave them the thumbs up.

The Eastbourne EAPCs will be available between the university’s campus in Eastbourne and the town’s railway station. Staff members who have completed e-bike training will be given access to an e-bike booking system which will enable them to book one of the ten e-bikes based in Eastbourne station to use while on university business. Staff and students will also be able to sign up to a separate rental scheme enabling them to rent an e-bike for various periods of time.

Associate Professor Mandy, the project lead, said sustainability was one of the university’s core values: “The university’s Travel Plan shows that 43 per cent of staff and 21 per cent of students travel to university as single drivers in their cars. The strategy is to reduce single occupancy vehicle transport by 10 per cent for staff and seven per cent for students by 2016

“This project will demonstrate the value of EAPCs for linking rail and university locations, and will lead to more understanding of the role of storage solutions and innovative support services.”

Paul Best, Southern’s Project Manager which hosted the launch, said: “We are committed to promoting more sustainable ways of getting to and from the station and these bikes certainly fall into this category.”

The e-bikes will be stored at the station and will be able to move to and from campus, to be returned to the station by the end of the day. The scheme is also supported by Blacks Bikes bike shop at Eastbourne station car park. The shop will assist with charging and e-bike maintenance. Eastbourne campus estates and facilities department have also assisted with the initiative.

Earlier research into and trials of electronically-assisted bikes by the university in Brighton showed they encouraged more people to cycle. Dr Frauke Behrendt, Principal Lecturer in Media Studies and who helped initiate the project, said:  “This project will demonstrate the value of EAPCs for linking rail and university locations, and will lead to more understanding of the role of storage solutions and innovative support services.”

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Electric bikes are a great way to encourage new people to get into cycling and I hope this interesting scheme encourages more people to take it up. Cycling helps cut congestion and is a healthy, affordable transport option.

“We want to double the number of journeys made by bicycle. That is why we are also investing over the next five years in cycle training and infrastructure.”

 

MP Caroline Ansel said the power bikes could revolutionise cycling in Eastbourne: “It’s an excellent pilot and I commend the University of Brighton for bringing it to Eastbourne – where we lead, others may follow. It’s good for the environment, good for finances, good for lifestyle – in every way, it’s a real winner.”

Anna Stefanaki, from the university’s Environment Team, said the team was hopeful the scheme could be the first of e-bike initiatives across university campuses in future.

For more information about renting an e-bike here: http://goo.gl/forms/xFxM3Doa7H and for more information on the university’s e-bike research, go to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/healthresearch/research-projects/university-campus-e-bikes.aspx

To view a video of the launch, go to: https://mediastream.brighton.ac.uk/Play/3239

Cycling Weekly New Tiagra 4700 groupset: first look

Raleigh’s new Criterium Sport comes equipped with Shimano Tiagra 4700. Here are our first impressions of the new groupset.

Shimano’s new Tiagra 4700 groupset looks much more like Shimano’s higher end groupsets than its predecessor. Gone is the “dinnerplate” chainset, in favour of a new four-armed design which looks much more like the offerings in the 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace ranges. It is available in 50/34 compact and 52/36 semi-compact versions with crank lengths of 165 to 175mm as well as a 50/39/30 triple.

We’ve got in the 50/34 compact version attached to Raleigh’s new 2016 Criterium Sport aluminium bike. Raleigh claims that the £750 Criterium Sport is the first bike available in the UK with Tiagra 4700.

New Tiagra shifters: no gear indicator windows and under-bartape cabling

The other major visible change is in the shifters which have lost their gear indicator windows and also look much like Shimano’s higher end groupsets. Gear cables have followed the brake cables under the bar tape, rather than coming out of the side of the shifters – again like the higher-end groupsets.

Gearing remains ten-speed rather than being promoted to the eleven-speed of 105 and above. The double set-up will take a largest sprocket of 34 teeth whilst the triple tops out at 32 teeth. Shimano quotes a smallest sprocket of 12 teeth for this set-up. The Raleigh comes equipped with a SRAM cassette which has a range of 11-32 sprockets. The rear derailleur comes with a long cage to allow it to handle the wider range options.

Rear mech has long cage to handle a wide gear range

The front mech has been redesigned with a longer cable arm to provide more leverage and lighter shifting option, which again reflects the design of Tiagra’s stablemates. The new 4700 Tiagra brakes also bear more than a passing resemblance to 105 and Ultegra and Shimano claims lower friction within the calipers, a 30% increase in braking power and better modulation relative to its predecessor.

Tiagra brakes are more efficient and better modulated

Tiagra brakes are more efficient and better modulated

Overall, despite remaining ten-speed, Tiagra 4700 has much more of the look and feel of Shimano’s higher-end groupsets. We’ll report further once we’ve got out on the road and seen if it matches them in performance.

NEW! The Raleigh Captus colour now in stock

Raleigh have bolstered their best selling range of eBkes with today’s launch of the Captus Colour.

The Captus Colour shares the same specification as the current Captus but with an emboldened blue colour scheme.

“Electric Bikes are leading a quiet revolution, gaining respect from enthusiasts and encouraging both the young and the less able to enjoy the freedom and health benefits of cycling.  The Captus Colour is available in both light blue low step frame and electric blue cross bar frames and will appeal to the fast growing younger eBike target ” commented Pippa Wibberley, Sales and Marketing Director for Raleigh.

Raleigh have seen its electric bike sales double year on year and are now the biggest electric bike company in the UK.  With a broad range of eBikes from Raleigh, complemented by specialist town and mountain eBikes from Koga and Haibike, Raleigh stockists have an eBike for everyone.

To find out more about the new Captus colour click here >>